Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing In The New Year With A BANG!

Monday, December 27, 2010.
8:00 a.m.

I am scraping the thin layer of ice from the windows on our car. As usual, I am running late for my 8:00 a.m. doctor's visit. As I slide into the driver's seat my right foot slips a bit on the driveway. It's a slick one this morning, I think to myself.

8:50 a.m.

I am done with my 37 week doctor's visit and making an appointment to come back again next week. He has already agreed to induce me at 39 weeks - on January 11th. 1/11/11, I think to myself. Now that's a birthday I can remember!

9:10 a.m.

I pull into the driveway, ready to crawl back into bed. I notice that the trash truck has already been by and decide to pull the trash can up to the house. The second I exit the car my feet start to slip... and I go back and forth between sliding on the driveway, losing and then regaining my balance, until suddenly my right foot rolls the wrong way and I fall into the gutter with a snap! sound. I almost immediately know that my ankle is broken.

9:15 a.m.

I try calling Allen on my cell phone but, as luck would have it, my battery is all but dead. A sweet older gentleman is out walking his dog and he hurries over to ask how he can help. "I live in this house," I tell him, pointing. "Please go get my husband. I think I broke my ankle."

9:30 a.m.

Allen and Coolister have carried me into the house and called 9-1-1. The pain is excruciating. The paramedics come. I am reminding them over and over that I am 37 weeks pregnant and do not want any medications that could even possibly harm the baby. They stabilize my foot and load me in to the back of their ambulance for transport to the hospital.

9:45 a.m.

I am wheeled into a room in the ER where the damage is assessed by x-ray. I am hoping for a dislocation and yes, it is dislocated, but also broken. In two places. The tibia has a part of the end broken off, the fibula is a more obvious break. I am told they will set the ankle where it is dislocated and then the on-call orthopedic surgeon will come in to talk with me about the breaks.

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

This time period is something of a blur because the ER doctor has given me a medication that keeps me awake through the setting procedure but helps me forget what exactly has gone on. Is that confusing? It was for me. For example, one minute they are putting something in my IV and not long after I notice my ankle is bandaged up. I ask Allen when that happened and he tells me it was wrapped when it was set. I had no idea they had set my ankle already although he says I was very vocal about letting them know "my ankle hurts really bad" as they were doing it.

11:00 a.m.

My OB (that's my baby doctor for those who don't know) comes to visit us in the E.R. He reassures me that all will be well and that he and the surgeon are going to consult & let me know what will be the best plan of action.

11:30 a.m.

Word comes that they want to induce the baby ASAP and then perform surgery on my ankle. I am a bit incredulous that I am going to have my baby that day. I ask all of the typical questions - are his lungs well enough developed? Will he be more likely to have jaundice? Do we need to do an ultrasound to check that everything's fine before inducing labor? My OB tells me that 37 weeks is considered full term and that everything will be fine. All I can think of as we wait to be wheeled up to labor and delivery is the fact that we have not decided on a name for this baby yet. We did not bring a camera - unless you count the ones on our phones. I have not shopped for Princess' birthday on January 1st. I have not found Princess a dress to wear after her baptism this Saturday. We have not yet moved Little O out of the pack-and-play bed he has slept in his entire life - which will be the new baby's bed once we get him home. I have not clipped my toenails or shaved my legs. Plus... how do I deliver a baby with a broken foot?! I have never felt so unprepared in my life.

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

The Hospital Waiting Game. (This is not a fun game.) We use this time to talk some more about baby names.

2:10 p.m.

We arrive in Labor & Delivery. I am prepped for induction as the staff awaits instructions from my OB. I am already dilated to a 4 before induction begins - this gives me some hope that my baby may actually be ready to come.

2:30 p.m.

Pitocin (the labor-inducing drug) is administered through my IV.

2:45 p.m.

The orthopedic surgeon's PA (physician's assistant?) comes and tells me what to expect in surgery tomorrow. The time is yet to be determined... but I will have screws and a plate put in. I will have a soft cast for 10 days, then a hard cast for 5 weeks following. I will not be able to bear any weight on my ankle for 6 weeks. Allen and I discuss options for making this work. We can make it work.

3:00 p.m.

Contractions are painful enough that I am ready for an epidural. BONUS: The epidural takes away the pain in my foot. The doctor who administers the epidural is magical in that I do not feel any needle pricks or pain in the process of getting the epidural working.

4:00 p.m.

Not much progress. My OB breaks my water and chats with us for a bit while he watches my contractions.

4:45 p.m.

I tell my nurse that I'm feeling ready. She checks. I'm ready. They call the doctor back into the room.

4:55 p.m.

One push. They tell me not to push any more.

4:57 p.m.

Our baby is delivered and I am amazed at how well things have worked out. I am a mother for the 10th time. It is surreal. This beautiful little bundle of chub and squealy cries is mine. We look at him and decide on a name. It is perfect. He is 8 pounds, 4 ounces. 19 1/2 inches long. Not bad for 3 weeks early.

7:00 p.m.

Allen accompanies the nurses and our sweet little baby to the nursery while I am moved to the Mother/Baby floor. I have been fasting all day (unless you count the apple I ate on my way to the doctor's office this morning at 8:00 a.m.) but they order me dinner so that I'll have something to eat before I have to start my next fast at midnight. I will have surgery on my ankle in the morning but the time has not yet been determined. I am told it will likely be sometime between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., but maybe at 7:00 a.m. Well, okay then.

8:00 p.m.

Dinner. Hospital food is awesome - I'm totally not kidding.

9:00 p.m.

We await word on surgery and continue to work with the nurses to attempt to control the pain in my ankle.

10:00 p.m.

I order more food (crackers, cookies and pudding) to fill myself up before fasting again from midnight until who-knows-when. My kids come to visit. I have never heard the words, "Awww!" and "cute!" said so many times in a 45 minute period of time. They are all in love with their little brother, even Curly who, when asked, "What do you think about your little brother?" answers, "Fine. Can I have a cookie?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
12:00 a.m.

The fasting begins.

7:00 a.m.

After a night full of baby feedings and checking of vital signs and controlling pain and uncomfortable hospital bedding, I am ready to get this surgery over with. We ask the nurses if they have a time yet. No word, but they'll let us know ASAP.

7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The Hospital Waiting Game. I can't help but think about how much we are paying to sit around in this room and do nothing while waiting for surgery.

1:30 p.m.

I ask my nurses, trying not to sound annoyed, when my surgery will be. They call the surgeon but he is unavailable. They call the surgeon's office but they are not helpful. They call the Operating Room and ask when I am on the schedule - I'm not. We are all becoming even more frustrated when word comes - they are ready for me.

2:00 p.m.

I am wheeled down to the OR waiting room. Allen bids me farewell and good luck as I head through the doors. As soon as he leaves my side I am nervous & anxious. I just want this over with. The reality of all that has happened in just over 24 hours is overwhelming and I find myself emotional. I sing the words to "Particle Man" over and over in my head as an attempt at distraction. I do not want to cry in front of all these strangers.

2:15 p.m.

I talk with the anesthesiologist about what's going to happen during surgery. He offers more options than I want to think about. I tell him that I want to be completely asleep during the procedure and that's all I care about. He goes on and on giving me details on why I should opt for a spinal block, etc. and have some pump put in my sciatic nerve to control the pain after. I already told him what I wanted and I just want him to leave now. He finally does.

2:45 p.m.

Still no sign of my surgeon. I sit and watch as person after person is brought in, meets with their surgeon and anesthesiologist and is taken to the OR for surgery. I try to fall asleep so that I can be distracted from thoughts of crying.

3:30 p.m.

WHERE IS MY SURGEON?! Another anesthesiologist comes and asks me to sign a consent form. I tell him that I have already signed one. He asks if I was told that he was my new anesthesiologist. No, I was not told. He apologizes, excuses himself for a moment (to go chew someone out?) and comes back. I actually like him better than the first guy - he's easy-going and down to earth.

3:45 p.m.

My surgeon shows up. I want to chew him out for making me lay there in the OR waiting area for AN HOUR AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES but I figure it's best to keep things amiable since he's about to cut my leg open and put some screws and plates in there. I just try not to cry and nod my head when he asks me questions. To his benefit, he IS being very sweet.

4:00 p.m.

The anesthesiologist puts something into my IV, says he'll see me later, and I start to feel tingly as I fall asleep to his singing of some classic rock.

7:20 p.m.

I wake up in the recovery room and immediately ask if anyone has called Allen. They tell me he should be in the waiting area. I tell them to call him. They say they will once we get to my room. I am starting to get frantic again. I somehow feel like everything will be fine if Allen is with me and I need him there NOW. As we walk outside the OR, he is there, waiting. I breathe a sigh of relief.

The details from here on out are insubstantial. So now, here I am at home, my humongously casted ankle resting on my bed in front of me, my 5 day old baby resting to my right, and my life is good.

There are so many tender mercies that have occurred in our lives over the last 5 days. Some things much too personal to share, some details which are overwhelming evidence of how blessed we are.

I love how my kids will sneak into my room just for a chance to hold their new baby brother. I am amazed by each tiny feature and contented half-grin on my newborn baby boy. Broken ankle? Sure, it's inconvenient. And a literal pain. But in the end, all is well.

Seriously, look at that face.


I am so, so blessed.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Coolister Outside


I wrote about my littlest munchkin and now I need to write about Coolister, the oldest. I think I've already written quite a bit about the range of emotions I am experiencing as I think about him being at the university next year, making his own choices and dictating his own schedule. I know he'll do well. He'll muddle through if he has to and figure things out because he's smart and he knows how to get by. I'm proud of him for all he's accomplished in his life so far in regards to school and sports, too - but I think that what I really want to focus on right now is his heart.

At first sight, Coolister is kind of a goofy, silly kid. He's extremely fun-loving and comes off as irresponsible (okay, sometimes he is) and self-centered at times. Pretty much your typical 17-year-old boy, really. But behind the scenes, as his mom, I get to see the side that many others don't. The kid has a heart of gold. He is quick to forgive, always one to help others feel included and filled with a light that comes from really knowing who he is and what he has the potential to become. Coolister is also a kid who has a willingness to help out whenever someone needs it.

Take today for instance.

Last night we had quite a snow storm. So much snow that this morning Coolister and his dad braved the cold at 6:00 a.m. to shovel our driveway, sidewalk and even a path around the suburban so that we could actually get into it without wading through snowdrifts to our knees. I sure do love those two!

After school as I was dropping off a couple of the kids in our carpool I noticed an elderly single woman (I'm pretty sure she's in her eighties) in our neighborhood out trying to shovel a path from her garage so that she could pull her car out. I called home on my cell phone and Coolister answered. All I had to say was, "Sister N. is out shoveling her driveway by herself..." before he answered, "I'm on it, Mom."

Coolister helped her shovel just enough to get her car out of the driveway and when she tried to pay him he told her that was not necessary and started to walk away. Once she was in her car and on her way he returned and finished shoveling her entire driveway and sidewalk.

After about an hour and a half I began to wonder where he had gotten off to. I drove over to Sister N's house and saw that he had finished shoveling at her house and and made his way next door to where another single lady in our church congregation lives. There he was with his jeans wet to his knees, almost finished with shoveling her driveway as well. No one had asked him. He just saw that it wasn't done and started doing it.

These are the things that make my mama heart swell with pride. These are the important things that his dad and I have hoped to instill in our kids' hearts and minds. Smarts at school are valuable and important but even more vital is the knowledge that serving others without any thought for yourself is the key to real happiness in life.

Oh, how I love my biggest boy and his huge heart.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ten Second Tales


As we were driving home from a shopping trip well past nap time the other day, Little O was restless and fussy. Curly took it upon herself to tell him some stories in an attempt to calm him down - and it worked.

I noticed she was saying "The End" about every 10 seconds so I decided to listen in on these quick tales she was fabricating for her little brother. It took everything in me to not laugh out loud as I marveled over her creative genius. At each stoplight I would quickly jot down what I could remember of her stories before it was time to drive again.

Here are the three I was able to capture on paper for your reading pleasure:

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was a very nice little girl. Then she fell off a cliff. The End.

Once upon a time there was a robot. It was a very ignoying little robot p-cuz it wanted to be a human. So every time he pretended to do human stuff, I just unplugged him. Someone had to teach him a lesson! The End.


Once upon a time there was a little tiny house. It was a house for a chick-munk family. They loved their cute little house. But one day they looked out the window and saw a bear! They got so scared! But really it was just a pretend bear that someone put up for a Christmas decoration. They never left their house again. The End.


I'm thinking she could publish a book of short stories and have her college fund all squared away before the age of five.

I could listen to these all day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Heart Is Heavy

photo from pbase.com

I feel like I am about to write an obituary.

Really, it is just a building. However, it is a building which for many, myself included, holds many memories as well as a rich history.

This morning Allen showed me the breaking news story on KSL which told of the demise of our historic Provo Tabernacle. It was up in flames, smoke billowing from the collapsed roof and broken windows.

photo taken from the mayor's blog

Just a building? I suppose. It's the building where Allen and I went to a few Sunday firesides when we were dating. It's the place where we have attended almost every Stake Conference we've been to in our married life. My kids have been honored and received awards in assemblies held in this place. Some of them have even performed there. I have been uplifted and inspired while inside. My kids have played on the spiral staircases within the four corner towers. The architecture of this building was incredible. Every time we sat inside its walls we marveled over the intricate woodwork and beautiful stained glass windows.

These memories are not only mine- they have been the same memories of others who have lived in Provo and been a part of all of the same things I have mentioned. The same meetings, firesides and assemblies have been held here for years. This structure has been a part of our community and our lives since the late 1800's. It is one of the oldest buildings in the state.

All of that is gone now. All that remains is an empty outside shell. All that the walls contained is destroyed.

As I drove Thumbelina to school this morning I passed our Provo Tabernacle. Smoke still poured from every available opening as firefighters continued to douse the building with water. It was a heartbreaking sight.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

How does one describe the feelings associated with the demise of a structure? Words fail me. It was more than just a building, it was a part of our community. It will be a sad thing to drive past this corner of our city and see only the walls remaining.

Today is a sad day for Provo.

Picture This

(This picture might work... it is only a year old and somewhat festive.)


(I have also debated just sending this picture out because almost all of us are in it, it is current and mostly not blurry.)


It's official: I am a total Christmas card slacker this year.

I can't even blame it on the fact that we don't have a picture (although we don't) since our amazing picture-taking friend has mentioned more than once that he's ready and willing to do a photo shoot.

I had completely decided to bypass the whole tradition this year but the guilt (and inquiring children: When are we getting family pictures done, Mom?) is making me do it anyway.

I think I have come up with something of a solution.

I am going to call our amazing picture-taking friend and ask when (or, at this point: if?) he's available for a photo shoot.

I am not going to try to coordinate outfits. I am going to either:

a) tell each of the kids to wear whatever they want, including princess crowns, jedi robes, velvety elf pants and superman capes if they so desire

b) have everyone wear something resembling a sweater

or

c) just put winter coats and beanies on everyone (no hair to do! GENIUS!).

As for the letter, I am thinking of just inserting a little card with the photo which reads:

Our theme for this year was SIMPLIFY. It was awesome. Merry Christmas!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Santa

As I stepped outside to grab my shoes last week I found this hanging on my doorknob.


When I opened it up, I found an envelope with my name written across the front and a cute holiday card inside.


And then the best part of all...


A whole new set of socks!! Someone knows me well.

The card was simply signed, "From Someone Who Loves You".

Surprise socks? Even better. A big, huge thank you from my feet and I to the mystery sock-giver.

Now I just need to find a skirt or some elf-ish capris to really show off those stripey fur-topped holiday socks. You think I could pull it off?


Without the monkey pajamas, I mean.

To whoever you are, you mysterious bearer of fantastical footwear, thank you. You made my day - and you are awesome.



Want to read more? Well, alrighty! If you'd like to read about a Christmas tradition in my family, click over to 4P today.

Traditions

One of the greatest things about melding two families together in marriage is that each side brings different customs and traditions to the table. This is especially true for us when it comes to Christmas.

What is even more awesome is being able to weed out the traditions that you didn't much care for growing up - like each person taking their turn opening one gift at a time while everyone sits around watching. That one's from my family and it only lasted one year as a passed-along tradition with our kids. Now we open gifts wild banshee style and it's much more exciting and messy - the way Christmas morning should be.

Christmas traditions in Allen's family included delivering homemade treats to neighbors and friends while Christmas caroling. In my family Christmas cookies have always been a big deal (snickerdoodles made with green and red colored sprinkles and chocolate crinkles were the two you could always count on) but there was never any singing involved. We have carried on a blend of these two traditions throughout our marriage - but this year it's going to change just a bit.

And here's why:

I was amazed by the number of people who were making disparaging comments on Facebook a few weeks ago regarding the delivery of homemade treats at Christmas time. One person even said something to the extent of: If you bring my family a plate of Christmas treats they come in my front door and straight out the back door and into the garbage can. Ouch! Others mentioned that it's the sugar overload all at one time that's hard to handle. So this year we've decided to save ourselves the time and effort of making homemade treats and go with store bought for our neighbors and friends instead - something they can enjoy right away or put in the pantry for a month or two down the road.

I've actually been keeping a list over the years of fun (and almost always cheesily-clever) little sayings to pair with store-bought Christmas goodies. Lest you think I am the Chuck Norris of puns and cheesy sayings, I must confess that these were all either given to us at some point or something I've seen somewhere.

In case you're interested, here are a few ideas:


Wishing you a souper holiday season! (with a bag of soup mix)

Hope this adds a little spice to your holidays. (tied to a jar of salsa & bag of chips)

Just popping by with a holiday 'hi'! (microwave popcorn)

Have a FANTAstic holiday. (attached to a bottle of Fanta soda)

We wish you a Merry SwissMiss! (box or can of Swiss Miss brand hot chocolate)


My personal favorites, which I would probably not have the guts to actually give to anyone because it would reveal too much of my sick sense of humor and possibly reflect negatively on the rest of my family are:

You've been bad, so here's the scoop; all you get is snowman poop. (A cellophane bag filled with yogurt covered peanuts or anything round dipped in white chocolate)

Or, the same poem but with 'reindeer poop'. (Small box of Whoppers candy or any chocolate covered morsels in a cellophane bag would work)

So for this year, these are the gifts we've decided to give as we share a Christmas song or two:


We WHISK you a merry KISSmas and a happy ROOT BEER! (Wire whisk filled with chocolate kisses attached to a bottle of A&W)

or

You're gettin' MUFFIN for Christmas! (muffin mix tied to a muffin pan)

If you're one of my neighbors, please pretend to be surprised when we bring you these clever gifts of the season.

If you have the time, I would love to hear what your favorite neighbor gifts have been over the years. Do you like getting a plate filled with homemade goodness or do your prefer the store bought variety? Maybe you prefer non-food items (my favorite in this category is a kitchen towel and washcloth with a tag that declares: A new washer and dryer!) or nothing at all.

Talk to me.

(I'm hoping someone will have a fabulous idea for me to use next year.)





By the way, if the title of this post make you start singing a song from Fiddler on the Roof at the top of your lungs, you're my kind of person.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stocking Is Underrated


Last month my eldest daughter, ElemenoB, turned the magical age of 16. The magic has nothing to do with becoming the age for acquiring a driver's license (no, we had to force her into finally getting her driving permit last week). The magic has everything to do with reaching the age that we allow our children to date.

Well, ElemenoB jumped right on that. She hasn't been asked out yet (unless you count already being asked to next year's homecoming dance) but she has taken matters into her own hands.

The school hosts a 'girl's choice' Christmas dance in December. She and some friends brainstormed unique ways to ask someone to this dance using a Christmasy-type theme. She decided to load up a Christmas stocking full of treats and attach the following note:

I promise I'm not
STOCKING you,
I just wanted to ask you
to the Christmas dance.
From ElemenoB


ElemenoB then sent the stocking with a friend who is on a school trip to California (along with the guy she is asking) so that he could find it outside of his hotel room door one morning.

As one who basically stalked my husband across state lines to get him to notice me (and, eventually, marry me), this form of asking is close to my heart as well as - in my humble opinion - pure genius.

The answer is pending... but really, how could he say no?